Apple iPad withdrawal: Why I want my tablet back, now!

On Monday morning, I shipped my original iPad out to a buyer. Two days later, I'm counting the hours until I can buy a new one.
Written by Jason Perlow, Senior Contributing Writer

On Monday morning, I shipped my original iPad out to a buyer. Two days later, I'm counting the hours until I can buy a new one.

I thought it was a good idea at the time.

On the day of the iPad 2 announcement, the folks at Gazelle.com contacted me and told me they would begin offering cold, hard cash for original iPads. Not only did I decide to write an article about it, but I figured I'd try the service myself. At that time, early in the day, prices were at their high, so I didn't hesitate in accepting their offer.

Hours later, shortly after the announcement, Apple dropped their iPad 1 prices significantly, dumping remaining inventory on the reseller channel, and the secondary market on used devices hit rock bottom. Thankfully, Gazelle is still committing to "lock in" their original offer provided my device is in the condition I said it was in, so I'm expecting to get a decent amount of cash back to put towards an iPad 2.

Still, the experience has been bittersweet. I immediately noticed something the morning after I had it shipped out to Gazelle. I was having ... issues.

The first thing I did when I woke up in the morning was reach for my iPad on my nightstand. It wasn't there.

"Honey, where's my iPad?"

"You had me send it out USPS to that Gazelle place in Boston. You went nuts backing it up to my PC and wiping it yesterday, and then packed it up, remember?"

"Oh crap. Right. Gazelle."

So I wouldn't be reading the morning news items in bed. Nor would I be sitting down and having breakfast, drinking my coffee in the living room, and looking at my emails on my iPad. It would have to wait until I trundled downstairs in front of my main workstation. The cold, dark basement dungeon I call my Home Office.

Sure, I could have grabbed my Droid. But man, it's not the same. I could review my emails on the thing, but I rarely do more than make simple, terse replies on it. Hell, on an iPad, you can compose pretty long messages on it and nobody would have any idea you were on a tablet as opposed to your PC, unless you have "Sent from my iPad" in your signature.

And yeah, I am one of those jackasses that actually does that.

And reading news and web pages on a smartphone? Even on the largest of smartphone screens, such as on a HTC EVO 4G with a 4.3" display, it's still nowhere near as natural and comfortable a reading device as a 10" tablet. On an iPad, I have my choice of reading real web sites in their natural, non-mobile presentation.

On an Android phone? Not so much.

And the full screen news reader apps? Sure, I got Pulse on both my Droid and on my ... well, I had it on my iPad. But man, it isn't the same on a smartphone! News360! Flipbook! Instapaper! Bloomberg! CNN! Google News! The New York Times! Full-screen goodness that I don't have to squint at at 7:30AM!

The funny thing is, I didn't have an iPad a year ago. Tablets were the stuff of science fiction. I got up in the morning, I grabbed my Droid. I squinted at it, and saw there were things that needed my attention. I ran downstairs to my dungeon and went straight to work, all bleary-eyed. Sometime in the next hour, my wife would knock on my door and bring me breakfast.

Maybe if I was lucky, in a few hours, she'd bring me lunch, or I'd rush upstairs, wolf it down in about 15 minutes and return to my PC taskmaster.

I didn't get to hang out in my living room on my nice comfy couch and start the day gracefully, and have the flexibility of leaving my office and still be able to work in a much less stressful environment.

With the iPad, I could go upstairs for a few hours, read work documents and mess with presentations with my colleagues on conference calls and author a few blog posts for ZDNet -- either lying down on the couch in the living room or even cuddled up in bed with my dogs during the cold winter.

Being able to escape the confines of the office, with my iPad I'd be just as productive as I would be typing in front of my main Linux workstation right now. In some ways, I can be even more productive, since it allows me to be more task-focused.

And when I'm travelling? Although I have a notebook computer for doing serious work at the office and in customer environments, the iPad is still the biggest friend I have. I use it in airport lounges, on the airplane, and in hotel rooms at night as my most trusted companion and most valued entertainment device.

Nothing beats the iPad for looking at customer deliverables, PDF files and reading technical material such as design documents and component diagrams. Or even catching up with a nice book or finding out about the local restaurant and club scene. And you can't beat the games and the apps on an iPad.

For watching movies lying in bed in your hotel suite, the iPad is fantastic. Sure, notebook computers can do all these things, but not with nearly as much comfort and ease. And when I got sick and practically incapacitated, The iPad was invaluable for researching about some nasty bug I caught.

Since my iPad went away, I've been staying up later at night. I stay downstairs until midnight, browsing the web and working on articles. This wasn't the case when my iPad was here. I'd shut down my workstation at about 8, and go upstairs and hang out with my wife.

Sure, maybe I wouldn't be paying attention to everything she was doing, but I'd least be in the same room, switching back and forth between converstation and focusing on research or snippets of content consumption on my iPad.

Heck, she could watch one of her stupid "Dancing with the Chef Survivor" shows and at least I could pretend to be interested, instead of holing myself up in my office for hours and hours on end.

So, when does iPad 2 go on sale, exactly? 5PM Friday? Where can I get one? An Apple Store? Target? Best Buy? WHY DIDN'T YOU DO PRE-ORDERS, STEVE JOBS???? WHY??? I'M LOST! LOST I TELL YOU! I CAN'T WAIT ANOTHER 48 HOURS!

Has the iPad or another tablet device made a huge impact in improving the quality of your life? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

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